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Cut Halo 3 levels

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

This page discusses elements of deleted material and cut content. Some information on the page is sourced from game files and may not be verifiable through external sources. Where possible, such information should be clearly-marked and replaced with a proper external source as soon as one is available.
A look at the campaign level selection in the Halo 3 Alpha, showcasing the original selection of intended missions with their in-development names.
An early design document, showing the original planned progression of campaign levels in Halo 3.
Image of a cut G4h-Du5H to use in Halopedia templates. Do not add to pages.

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Halo 3 cut content


Cut content

Development

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During the development of Halo 3, a number of levels were cut or changed dramatically.

Cut campaign levels[edit]

Guardian Forest[edit]

Main article: Guardian Forest

Guardian Forest, also known as 080_forest was a cut level[1] set either between The Ark and The Covenant[2] or after The Covenant but before Cortana. The level was set in a large forest on Installation 00 and was to feature a new enemy, the Guardian.[3][4]

090_alpine[edit]

alpine, known as 090_alpine in the game files, is a cut campaign mission viewable in the Halo 3 game files due to the release of the Halo 3 Mod Tools. The folder itself contains no files of particular note, but the name itself reveals several details. The name alpine describes the kind of terrain the mission was intended to have - perfectly matching the landscapes found in the final game level of The Covenant - itself known as 100_citadel. The 100 designation clashes with another cut level, 100_forecity, indicating that 090_alpine became 100_citadel at some point after 100_forecity was cut from the game.

When the aforementioned Guardian Forest level was cut, the planned Hornet sections were transplanted into The Covenant[3][4], indicating that this major restructuring likely occurred around the same time as - or because - of the dropping of Guardian Forest.

100_forecity[edit]

Main article: The Lost City

The level in the Mod Tools files referred to as 100_forecity likely corresponds with The Lost City, a map developed by Paul Russel for the purposes of experimenting with Forerunner architectural design. Although described by Russell and Vic DeLeon as a map primarily used to demonstrate new technologies for the Xbox 360 and new engine, designer Dan Miller is also on record as mentioning that he was assigned as a designer on this level - indicating it was at one point intended to be a playable level space.[5]

110_hc_old[edit]

The level known as 110_hc_old comprises the original layout of the mission Cortana, prior to the level being cut-down and replaced with portions of the map designed for Floodgate. A full recount of this cut map can be found here.[6][7]

Multiplayer maps[edit]

A number of multiplayer maps were considered for inclusion in Halo 3, including several that did not make the final cut. Notably, the maps "Wall of Cotton" and "Shaft" do not match any known development names for released multiplayer maps, nor fit the theme of any released in the final game. The document also shows remakes of the maps Hang 'Em High, Blood Gulch and Lockout as considered for inclusion - the latter of which eventually making its way into the game as Blackout.[8]

In the Halo 3 component of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a number of seemingly-leftover .mapinfo files were removed from the game at some point during the flighting process. These maps contain the aforementioned "shaft", alongside some presently-unknown maps referenced as "volcano", "pump_haus", "landslide", "damn" and "beachhead". The files also reference a map named "warthog_inc", discussed in-detail further down this page.

Gauntlet[edit]

Little is known of "Gauntlet" - the map was used in development to test a variety of objective-based gamemodes that ultimately never appeared in the final release of Halo 3. Interestingly, concept sketches for the map layout suggest the idea of Halo 3 including several classes including "Assault", "Rifleman" and "Warthog Dude".[9]

Monkey Mountain[edit]

The map internally named "Monkey Mountain" was built for the Capture the Flag gametype, and consisted of the attacking team assaulting up a hill (similarly to High Ground) to capture the flag. However, the map had a unique twist in that the attackers could then drop the flag off a cliff next to the base into a river below, at which point a boat could drive the flag back home, similarly to the design of Halo 2's map Relic. The map was ultimately scrapped due to the river mechanic not working well enough to justify including the map. Monkey Mountain was also to include a rideable elevator of some kind.[9]

Design documentation shared by Max Hoberman shows Monkey Mountain as intended for 8-12+ players, and was in development by the time Halo 3 ended pre-production.[8]

Warthog Inc[edit]

The map internally codenamed "Warthog Inc" was focused on the Territories gametype, and one of the last maps cut from Halo 3. The map was to be set in a location where the titular Warthog was built and tested, and was reported by Chris Carney as "playing really well"; consisting of a collection of five 1-2 storey buildings each containing a territory zone. The map also contained a Warthog "test track" which allowed the player to use vehicles in a medium-sized map, but made movement predictable as to keep them balanced versus infantry. The map was ultimately scrapped as it never hit an "amazing" level of gameplay.[9]

Interestingly, Warthog Inc was also included (albeit unplayable) in the files of the Halo 3 beta. Additionally, it seems that Warthog Inc's early blockout geometry can be seen being playtested by Bungie staff in the ViDoc Is Quisnam Protero Damno!. In one shot, the level is seen selected in the custom game lobby, and the geometry shown matches the level icon found in the Halo 3 Delta build.[10] Design documentation shared by Hoberman shows Warthog Inc as intended for 4-8+ players, and was in development by the time Halo 3 ended pre-production.[8]

Development and testing levels[edit]

The Lost City[edit]

Main article: The Lost City

The Lost City was a visual look-development level.[11] The level was based around the idea of a Forerunner city, composed of a single building.[12] The space had grown immense in size.[11] An art pass was done on the level in 2005 before it was cut.[13]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ IGN, GDC 09: The Halo 3 Level You Never Played (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  2. ^ YouTube, Halo 3 - Cut Campaign Levels DISCOVERED! (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  3. ^ a b GDC Vault, Building Your Airplane While Flying: Production at Bungie (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  4. ^ a b Bungie.net, Building Your Airplane While Flying: Production at Bungie: Original presentation download (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  5. ^ NeoGAF, Halo - OT14 - They call it Halo: "Developer Insight #9 Everyone here remembers the concept art for Forerunner City, right? Bungie cut that in part because, when they went through the concept art, they felt like they would have to give away too much about the Forerunners. Dan was originally assigned to this level and Guardian Forest." - Dan Miller (Retrieved on Oct 10, 2021) [archive]
  6. ^ Bungie Publications, Halo 3 Flood Alien Level Autopsy (Retrieved on Oct 10, 2021) [archive]
  7. ^ Bungie.net, Halo 3 Flood Alien Level Autopsy: Original presentation download link (Retrieved on May 3, 2012) [archive]
  8. ^ a b c d Twitter, Max Hoberman (@MaxHoberman): "Oh, there were also a few questions about some of the working map names in the UI mockups that I shared. Here's where things stood at the end of Halo 3 preproduction. This is from a presentation that I put together summing up our multiplayer, UI, and online plans." (Retrieved on Aug 25, 2020) [archive]
  9. ^ a b c d PC Gamer, October 2020 (Issue #348) - Special Report: Theaters of War, page 12-13
  10. ^ Reddit, Gameplay of Cut Halo 3 Multiplayer Level Warthog Inc. (Retrieved on Jul 7, 2021) [archive]
  11. ^ a b Picasa: Paul Russel > Halo 3: The Lost City (defunct, Archive)
  12. ^ Paul Russel on Twitter: Thanks! I wanted to get past our current notion of cities, instead of individual buildings, city is a single building.
  13. ^ a b Vic DeLeon on Twitter: So here's three shots taken in-game wayyy back in 2005 running a version of the #Halo 2.5-3 engine. The idea was to design an abandoned Forerunner "living space" with courtyard, and fallen into disrepair. @Dr_Abominable made the original structures and I modified, added entropy
  14. ^ Paul Russel on Twitter: That's a trace of a screenshot I took of one of the concepts. I think version 3 of a city.